Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects one’s ability to move and maintain balance. This often arises when the cerebral cortex is injured or does not develop normally in a fetus.

Motor symptoms

Since the cerebral cortex controls muscle movement, problems with movement will usually be the most prominent symptoms. One such problem is spasticity, characterized by stiff muscles and jerky or exaggerated reflexes. The infant may also make involuntary writhing movements. This condition, known as dyskinesia, is seen in those with Parkinson’s disease as well.

CP also results in ataxia, so as the child grows, he or she may have difficulty with balance, coordination and fine motor skills like the ability to grasp with the fingers. These and other movement problems may affect one or all of the limbs.

Neurological symptoms

Close to 41% of children with CP suffer from epilepsy, making this the most common of the neurological symptoms. They may also suffer from learning disabilities, ADHD, speech problems, hearing loss and reduced vision. These can be connected with hydrocephalus, which is where cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the ventricles of the brain.

Secondary symptoms

These are the symptoms that come about as a result of uncontrolled motor functions. They include stunted growth, hernias, scoliosis, constipation and urinary incontinence. Children with CP may also experience difficulty eating, swallowing and sleeping. They are also more likely to develop tooth and gum disease and fracture their bones.

Getting the personal attention of a lawyer

The birth injuries that contribute to cerebral palsy can occur before, during or after delivery. If your newborn incurred an injury and you believe that the doctors or nurses were negligent in some way, then it may be wise to consult an attorney. Legal counsel may provide the right information on how to pursue a claim during this trying time. Through the attorney, you may even get access to third-party medical professionals who can show just how the defendants did not adhere to certain standards for care.